It’s time to start making some serious plans for where my beloved and I might travel this year. Last year, most of my travel was to see my mom and sister a few states away, and most of my husband’s travel was on business. We did manage some other family visits, a kayak trip, and tag-ons to his working trips, but nothing very far from home.
This year, I am hampered a bit by my own lack of income, since I contributed to a lot of fun stuff in the past. (I also may have over-spent a little on Christmas…) I know it’s early in the year, but my husband still has to plan and budget his vacation time, so the sooner we start putting these things on the calendar, the better.
First things first – we’ve begun to think about where we’d like to go. There is the possibility of my accompanying my beloved on an overseas trip (this will mean I would explore a lot on my own). We’ve also discussed the possibility of a cruise to Alaska or somewhere in Europe, or a guided trip to Central America. We’ll try to do some long weekends in the US, in any case. Decisions, decisions…
We’ve tabled thoughts of Australia and New Zealand for now (expense of flights – this is about as far from home as we can get on the globe), although we just saw The Hobbit and the scenery was amazing! Ditto Middle Eastern/Northern African locations like Israel and Egypt (chalk this up to my own reticence to go where I feel there are dangers to travelers, especially Americans. That may be silly, but with all the other places we still want to visit, it’s enough to cross them off for the time being.)
And what other things should go in the hopper for consideration? One serious concern is how long we’ll be able to really enjoy sites that need physical stamina or strength. We had one companion when we were in Greece who struggled with the steps to the Parthenon. We ourselves took our time climbing Diamond Head (it was a very hot day) and the Great Wall (some of it gets quite steep.) Although we didn’t have any real trouble with these places, it did occur to us that we won’t be able to do some of these things forever.
So if I want to do zip-lining, or canopy tours in Costa Rica – probably better sooner than later. Things like hiking a glacier or walking trails and city streets are a little easier – we can stay in shape for those by walking our favorite trails at home. And so, I’ve started my research.
I have two strategies – low-tech and high-tech. I get travel guides and maps from AAA for our target places, and go through them to find all the accommodations and attractions we’re most likely to enjoy, how much they cost, and when they’re available. Then I plot them on the maps to start seeing how the trip might fit together. Part two is hitting the internet to see what tours and transport are available, what travel “points” we have available on credit card, hotel, and airline sites, and signing up to be notified of special deals. I try different flight options (days of the week, departing airports, etc.) and accommodation styles until I can get close to my budget.
After I finish this “simple” preliminary process for Central America, Alaska, and European river cruises, my beloved and I will look at the results and fine-tune what things we most want to see. We’ll figure out what sounds best and start booking. One thing we always try to do is pay for as much of our trips in advance as we can. That way the only bills we get when we get home are for meals, unexpected venues, and souvenirs. (Trust me, that’s enough!)
For this time while my beloved is still working, we hope to make one or two more “dream trips.” After that, we will have to watch our trip expenses more closely, but we do expect our budget in the first ten years of joint retirement to include travel as one of our big ticket items.
After all, there’s still so much to see. Guess I’d better get busy!
- Replogle World Classics Series globe
- National Geographic Map of the World
- TripIt – A Travel Organizer That Makes Remembering Your Travel Plans Easy [iOS] (makeuseof.com)
- Best Time of the Year to Go on a Cruise, Cheaply (epicatravel.com)
- Travel Trends For 2013: High-Tech Holograms, Themed Cruises & Pop-Up Hotels (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- When Is The Best Time Of Year To Travel To Costa Rica? (jtm71.wordpress.com)